Candy, Hulu’s five-episode true crime miniseries set in early 1980s Texas suburbs asks two questions about its eponymous source of inspiration, Candace Montgomery. First, what compelled the blissful housewife and holiday bible study leader to chop her friend Betty Gore to death with an axe? And second, how the hell did she convince a jury that she beat her friend 41 times in self-defense?
Jessica Biel, once the wayward daughter of the Camdens… 7th heaven and later the sinner of the same name the sinner, now plays a different conflicting character of the faith. Candace Montgomery, a chorister and Sunday school teacher, is a joyful mainstay of her community, loved by children and adults alike. She’s the perfect replacement for Betty Gore, a dismal discipline who loses her job as a teacher because she can’t keep her class in line without locking them all up. (Several times.) Melanie Lynskey, peeking out from under a disheveled cup-shaped wig, plays the doomed sad sack with a mixture of bitterness and exhaustion. So, why did Candy kill her?
Both Candy and Betty seem to strive for intimacy in their marriages with dutiful but uninvolved men. Candy’s attempts to rekindle the flame with her pious, good-hearted dude, Pat (Timothy Simons), continue to go up in smoke, forcing her to work out her sexual frustrations in the bathtub – at least until she finally decides to quit smoking. a lover. Betty, meanwhile, spends half her time on screen begging her husband, Allan (Pablo Schreiber), to stop leaving her so often for weekend work trips. To her, the house is like a prison cell – darkened and full of sounds that she can’t control. (Although in this case the ruckus are just… kids who are kids.)
Sweet as she looks on the outside, Candy’s sugary coating masks a harmful tangle of suppressed anger and frustration, similar to the one her friend has to contend with. While Betty wears her bitterness on her sleeve, Candy hides it at her core.
Jessica Biel replaced Elisabeth Moss as the star of the series last year, and it’s hard to imagine what the series would have looked like with the The Handmaid’s Tale and Shining Girls star in the middle. For this production, however, Biel feels the perfect choice to play Candace – charismatic, dizzying and haggard. She leads with a smooth smile and undercuts them with dissociative looks at medium distance; her overpowered housewife nature is affectionate and homely, but also athletic and fierce.
The rest of the cast packs a similar punch. Lynskey, who’s had a moment since then? yellow jackets explodes, swings between empathetic, pitiful and frustrating like Betty; Schreiber’s Allan seems to both love and hate his wife, and Orange is the new blackPorn’ Stache, the resident, is wonderfully adept at playing the bereft widower. (Come for Allan who says he doesn’t know how to change a diaper, but thinks his engineering degree will help him figure it out, and stays for the moment when he finds out what happens when you load a dishwasher with plain old dishwashing liquid .)
Simons quietly steals the show in every scene he finds himself in as Pat, a lovable dope whose intuition as a father is much sharper than his understanding of his wife. and one time Law & Order: SVU ADA Raul Esparza is an inspired choice to play Candy’s lawyer, Don Crowder—whom she knew from church and who, according to the show, may have known Candy a little better than they wanted anyone in the courtroom to realize.
†Simons quietly steals the show in every scene he finds himself in as Pat, a lovable dope whose intuition as a father is much sharper than his understanding of his wife. †
Fans of the sinnerin which Biel played another ghostly killer character in the first season Candy‘s approach to the true-crime elements. Like the American drama, the Hulu miniseries takes a “whydunit” approach to the mystery at its core—a nifty tactic that will ensure that all viewers, those who already know the details of Montgomery’s murder of Gore and those who don’t. know, will find themselves. fascinated. Creators Nick Antosca (The deed) and Robin Veith (the vastness) mixes slow-simmering crime drama with humor that flirts with camp but never fully embraces it.
Throughout the five episodes, however, Candy hints at the more certain series – or perhaps, made for TV movie – that could be. Early scenes like a steamy volleyball match full of stealthy butt looks and thigh-level high-fives are shot with low-key humor that sadly gives way to more heartfelt courtroom drama over time. I found myself consistently wishing the show had allowed itself another inch of leeway — just a little more humor here, a little more quirky energy there. In the absence of real tension, Candy tends to spin its wheels – a slightly sour note on an otherwise sweet formula.